Bicycling to and from work is becoming an environmentally friendly and common alternative to carpooling or driving a vehicle. Students use bicycles as well for getting to school or around their neighborhood. Unfortunately, bicyclists are at a high risk of personal injury because of a lack of protection. In 2017, nearly 800 cyclists suffered fatalities as per data revealed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

The number will likely increase in the coming years as more people adopt cycling as an alternative mode of transportation. Cyclists should be aware of the risks they face when biking for pleasure or work. They should also be aware of their legal rights if those risks become a reality. Consulting a competent bicycle accident attorney in New York City can help you understand the various ways you can receive adequate compensation for your personal injuries. 

Right to Sue for Personal Injuries After Bicycle Accidents in New York

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New York has passed the no-fault law that limits the right to sue following an auto accident. However, the law makes PIP benefits available to the insured regardless of negligence or fault. These laws typically prevent suing for noneconomic losses unless certain criteria and thresholds are met. Exceptions include cases involving serious injuries. 

Generally, serious injuries include compound fractures, significant disfigurement, full disability for a minimum of 90 days, and permanent or significant limitation of organs and bodily functions. These injuries generally carry noneconomic losses that are not covered under PIP benefits. Based on this, compensation for these can be claimed. 

You may have the right to sue in general if you don’t have an auto insurance policy that covers your injuries. Without auto insurance you cannot cover your medical expenses. You would need to seek compensation from the negligent parties and their insurance company. PIP benefits of the liable party will be used for paying for your damages and losses in this case. 

No-fault insurance is not applicable in cases where a neglected or damaged roadway, or a defective cycle caused the injuries. You would need to pursue a lawsuit against the township, city, or municipality that neglected to maintain the road, or the designer or manufacturer of the defective bicycle. 

In such claims, the cyclist is responsible for proving their injuries are a direct result of negligence on part of the at-fault party. An injured cyclist is eligible to recover both economic and noneconomic damages. It is not easy to pursue a case against the municipality, township or city. For starters, you only get 90 days from the injury date to initiate the claim. 

These claims require investigative work in the form of obtaining video evidence, determining the duration and extent of hazardous road conditions, and identifying if any other similar accident took place because of it. 

In a similar manner, there is tremendous leg-work in pursuing a product liability lawsuit as well. Pre-litigation investigation will include consulting with design experts and engineers for testifying to the negligence involved in manufacturing, designing, or assembling the parts. 

Determining Fault in a Bicycle Accident in New York City

New York court system follows a pure comparative fault model for determining compensation and judging liability under NY CPLR § 1411. This means that a judge will analyze the actions of the defendant and plaintiff for determining proportional liability. The plaintiff’s compensation will be reduced by the proportion of liability for the accident. 

You may be eligible to receive 1% of the compensation amount to cover economic and noneconomic losses even if you are found to be 99% at fault. The court will consider the following factors for determining liability in a cycling accident:

  • Was either the cyclist or driver negligent in their duties of reasonable care owed to one another?
  • Was the accident because of human error?
  • Was either the cyclist or the driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident?
  • Were both the bicycle and vehicle maintained properly?
  • Were there any defects in the bike or car that was not known to the operator?

These factors majorly relate to negligence or recklessness on behalf of the driver or cyclist that may be considered as a primary cause for the accident and injuries sustained. 

Benefits of Hiring a Bicycle Accident Attorney in New York

You should get in touch with a profound and reliable bicycle accident lawyer in New York if you or a loved one was injured because of the fault of another. It is routine for at-fault drivers and their insurance carriers to deny injured bicyclist fair compensation. They may claim that your injuries are not “serious” enough within the purview of law. 

Committed NY cycle accident attorneys know how to fight back for ensuring that their injured clients receive timely and fair compensation to be made whole again. Don’t allow insurance adjusters and companies to tell you the worth of your case. At the same time, you should know that all serious cycle injuries are not caused by vehicles. 

The best thing you can do is to consult with a capable New York personal injury attorney immediately after suffering injuries in a cycling accident. This will allow them to begin work on your claims process right away to increase the likelihood of the best possible outcome. 

Common New York Bicycle Accidents 

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There are several types of accidents that can occur on the roadways. The most dangerous and common form of accidents involve a truck or a motor vehicle of some kind. These are a few types of bicycle accidents on NY roadways:

1. Dooring accidents

These accidents occur when a vehicle occupant doesn’t check for oncoming cyclists and pedestrians before opening the door. The sudden opening of a door may cause the cyclist to swerve away and hit another vehicle, or to crash into the door. They may get launched into the air and suffer serious injuries. 

2. Left-cross accidents

Drivers that aren’t used to sharing a road with cyclists will forget to check behind them and only focus on oncoming traffic while making a left-hand turn. This may cause a cyclist to crash into the vehicle. 

3. Right-hand accidents

Majority of drivers forget to check for cyclists. They may misjudge their position and make right-hand turns. This may block the way of the cyclist causing them to crash into the vehicle. The risk of injury in right-hand accidents is more as compared to left-cross accidents because cyclists are expected to stay on the far-right side of traffic. 

4. Right-cross accidents

Such accidents take place when drivers don’t check for cyclists before pulling out of an alley or driveway. This causes a right-angle collision with the cyclist. The vehicle may back or drive into a cyclist. The cyclist may also end up crashing into a car that pulls out in front of them. 

5. Rear-end accidents

The way a car can rear-end into other cars is the same way it can rear-end a cyclist. The difference is that injuries are far more severe when a car rear-ends into a cyclist. This is because protection offered by a bike is negligible as compared to a metal vehicle. 

6. Hit and run accidents

This is the broadest category of cyclist accidents. It covers almost every collision type with the same outcome. The driver flees the scene of the accident. Generally, hit and run accidents occur because of driver negligence, which is why they end up fleeing the scene. Alcohol and drugs are commonly involved. 

Bicycle accidents can also happen without involving a car or any other vehicle. Another party would be held liable in such injuries. For instance, a homeowner or a storekeeper may keep something that obstructs the bike path. This may result in the rider swerving and crashing into a tree, fence, or another object. 

Typical Injuries in Cycling Accidents

Personal injury suffered as a result of bicycle accidents are wide ranging. These are a few common injuries that become apparent following an accident:

  • Broken arms and legs
  • Wrist and hand injuries
  • Joint dislocation
  • Elbow fracture
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Jaw and dental damage
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Nerve damage
  • Bruises
  • Cuts
  • Skin abrasions

Of course, any medical condition may arise because of cycling accidents. Some injuries are more obvious than others. You should seek a medical professional for an examination after any accident you are in. It is vital that you get checked for both external and internal injuries. 

A skilled personal injury attorney can assist you in judging whether your injuries warrant a claim or not. They will analyze your individual circumstances for understanding the parties that can be held liable for your injuries. They will ensure you receive proper compensation through litigation and negotiations. 

Contact a Dedicated and Resourceful Bicycle Accident Attorney in New York City Today

The proven and experienced New York City attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP can help if you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident. We have helped many New Yorkers obtain maximum compensation for their injuries and losses in bike accidents. We can begin work on your case right away. Exhaustive and early investigative effort is crucial for the best possible outcomes. 

Schedule a free, no-obligation appointment with us today by calling at 1-800-660-2264 or just fill out our online contact form

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